On Tuesday I’m agitated.
I step into a colleague’s office to vent.
He spins around in his desk chair and welcomes my orneriness, listening, risking a couple of bold questions (one wrong question and I could make life miserable for him… How easy, even “wise” it can be to avoid honest, caring engagement with one another! Is it because we fear the consequences?).
He’s now confronting me… and something happens… church breaks out!
You know, all those exhortations on how we’re to love, relate, build up one another, fight for one another and offer the life and grace of the Gospel to each other… church!
Well it was happening Tuesday in office #9 between 10:30 – 11 AM with a guy I work with. God fills the room. It’s heavy, it’s thick… I’m convicted of my demanding-ness, an arrogance that expects others to see/interpret/understand a set of circumstances as I do.
My goodness… don’t they get it? I’m offering the wisdom of ages. Tested and true, my perspective is informed by things they don’t know… can’t know… Where’s the respect of total submission to their elder? In fact… they’re fighting me!@???
And the lights go… I see something ugly, unloving, mean in my response/attitude to them. My co-worker says a few things but doesn’t have to say much, God is there: convicting, forgiving and inviting me into a life lived differently.
It was the community I yearn for.
Last Thursday I’m in the cab of a truck driving across town with an acquaintance. He shares a battle he’s fighting… it’s ruining his marriage and family. I make a few observations about his life, particularly his relational style and how others experience him… we’re getting into some “stuff”. I suggest we pray and invite Christ into our time as he drives… and church breaks out!
You know… the reason we meet on Sundays and midweek… to worship, grow, be encouraged and encourage one another.
So, at 40 MPH a huge childhood wound surfaces and the agreements he’s made as a result. A whole lot of dysfunctional/sinful life passes by him. God speaks… we’re both in tears, amazed and stunned by the power and beauty of our time. I get out of the truck with my 40 lb. bag of dog food and he drives off with a strength, resolve and grace he didn’t 15 miles ago.
It wasn’t Sunday. Heck we’re just driving down Austin Bluffs and church breaks out! It was the community I yearn for, the community I was designed for. What’s ironic is how much of it I truly do experience! Really! The church I long for jumps out from uncommon places in unplanned moments with random sojourners… it’s so God! Yesterday it breaks out in a phone conversation, last week through a friend’s poem, another’s comment on my blog… God is providing so much of what we yearn for. Do you see it?
Sometimes it even breaks out in church . I’m sitting through a service led by a stunningly self absorbed Pastor using every gimmick in the book to rev us up and into some small story… I’m a little agitated… and church breaks out… God comes and speaks to a question I’ve been pondering over for months. I’m smiling, engaged, worshipping and graciously wondering about the “preacher’s” story/journey and compassionately remembering when I was him… hoping and praying that church would break out.
May it! Enjoy it! - Craig